Friday, October 12, 2012

Stress, boredom, and homework problems

Education Week has an article, “Studies Link Student Boredom to Stress.”  This study highlights an issue that is central to my model, The Homework Trap. Kids who are homework trapped are misperceived as unmotivated (or bored). We overlook the fact that they are under a great deal of stress being asked to do work they cannot do, or at least cannot do within a reasonable amount of time. I call this process, The Myth of Motivation. If we take a serious look at the psychology behind homework noncompliance, we can see that standard approaches to force homework compliance increase stress, and more homework noncompliance and bad behaviors become natural and predictable responses to those efforts. In my book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers, I highlight how things we know from behavioral, developmental, and organizational psychology all point to the same conclusion, that ongoing homework pressure for homework trapped students does more harm than good. The Education Week article points to one aspect of that process.

Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.


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